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PERSPECTIVE ON SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING:

A COMPLEX SOCIO CULTURAL PHENOMENON

-ABSTRACTThe Second language learning, which is associated with Teaching,


Development and Instruction, is a complex socio-cultural phenomenon with
different variables concerning the psychological factors of the learners and the
socio-cultural elements of the contexts.
An interactional approach to second language learning can ensure that a social
perspective of second language development and instruction contributes to
having a positive effect on the nature and quality of language learning which
activates the autonomous learning motivation and creates diversity in the
learning atmosphere.
Recently research on developing socio-cultural and linguistic competences
simultaneously in the language classroom is gaining increasing attention from
English Foreign Language practitioners and curriculum designers. The
understanding of language as a social phenomenon has increased greatly
because of language teaching classrooms are diversified with learners,teachers,
institutions, cultures, contexts and pedagogies .
The environment in which a learner operates contains very rich resources of
language. Therefore, there is need for exploring the potentials of grammatical
structure, meaning, varieties and overall assimilations of stated features into
language development

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PERSPECTIVES ON SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING :


A COMPLEX SOCIO CULTURAL PHENOMENON
PERSPECTIVE ON SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING:
A COMPLEX SOCIO CULTURAL PHENOMENON
Introduction:
The Second language learning, which is associated with Teaching,
Development and Instructions is a complex socio-cultural phenomenon with
different variables concerning the psychological factors of the learners and the
socio-cultural elements of the contexts .An interactional approach to second
language learning can ensure that a social perspective of second language
development and instruction contributes to having a positive effect on the
nature and quality of language learning which activates the autonomous
learning motivation and creates diversity in the learning atmosphere.
Recently research on developing socio-cultural and linguistic competences
simultaneously in the language classroom is gaining increasing attention from
English Foreign Language practitioners &curriculum designers. The
understanding of language as a social phenomenon has increased greatly
because of language teaching classrooms are diversified with
learnersteachers, institutions, cultures, contexts and pedagogies
Consensus has been made that interactions between teachers and learners in
the learning processes have an effect on the nature and quality of language
learning and that no language teaching and learning takes place however in
a classroom which is isolated from the world of experiences and personal
engagements and investments of learners outside the classroom itself

The environment in which a learner operates contains very rich resources of


language. Therefore; there is need for exploring the potentials of grammatical
structure, meaning, varieties and overall assimilations of stated features into
language development.
Sociolinguistics, which concerns the field that studies the relation between
language and society, between the uses of language and the social structures in
which the users of language liveexamines how social issues affect language
use in a particular society how the same language varies from different
variables as well as how particular cultures prefer some kinds of language over
others.
On the other hand, Sociolinguistics explores how language is used in face-toface communication and interaction.
Practical and Socio-cultural perspectives on language learning
A theoretical background
Languages are learned in social contexts because language is a bonding
component of the social mechanism. There is a strong influence from social
aspects concerned with the special relation of culture, family background and
learner Recent theoretical research on second language learning of any kind
taking place in a social context includes components of social integration and
sufficient contacts with the second language group and of foundations in
socio-cultural theory and ethnographic practice
Social factors are therefore, assumed to influence second language learning in
two essential ways the social provision of language learning situations and
opportunities as well as the consistent increasing of intrapersonal
variation
First of all the sociolinguistic view of second language development is
strongly in harmony with the interaction view held by some psychologists
which represent a wide range of theories about the relative contributions of
innate structures of the human mind and the environment which provides the
samples of the language to be learned While the Swiss psychologist Piaget
argued that learners had acquired language through physical interaction with
the environment the psychologist Vygotsky1978held that thought was
essentially internalized speech and speech emerged in social interaction
Similarly as Ellis1994 suggests the understanding of how interactional
modifications affect the comprehensibility of texts Evelyn Hatch
1992Teresa Pica1994and MichaelLong1983contend that much
second language acquisition takes place through conversational interaction
with regard to propositions such as interactional modification makes input
comprehensible comprehensible input promotes acquisition therefore
interactional modification promotes acquisition
Sociolinguistic research on second language development:

In addition sociolinguistic research on second language development is


concerned specifically with the complexities of individual learner variables
with reference to external socio-cultural factors and issues of learner
identities which are relevant to the influences of intelligence attitude
personality and individuality motivation learner preferences and age
in second language learning Lightbown Spada1999Bell1984points
out that the intra speaker variation can be derived from the inter speaker or
culture or social variation so each group differentiates its variety of
opportunities to express their opinions suggestions or taste to share
language from others and its second language learning ability is subsequently
valued by itself and others.
Intelligence
Intelligence is a culturally derived abstraction that members of any given
society coin to make sense of observed differences in performance of
individuals within and between social groups According to
Thomas1994there are eight kinds of intelligence namely
i) Linguistic intelligence
ii) Logical -mathematical intelligence
iii) Bodily kinesthetic intelligence
iv) Spatial intelligence
v) Musical intelligence
vi) Interpersonal intelligence
vii) Intrapersonal intelligence
viii) Naturalist intelligence and
ix) Emotional intelligence (Dr. Peter Salovey & Dr. John Mayer, 1990)
Attitude
An attitude is considered to be a property of an individual personality less
enduring than temperament but more enduring than a motive or a mood
Thomas 1978Factors that may contribute to a learners attitude towards
second language learning are related to cognitive affective and cognitive
components Thomas1978)
Personality and Individuality.
Personality refers to the thinking and behavior that is directed outward and in
ward Eysenck ,1970 Janssen Grabowski 1993Personalization activities
provide the learners their real life experiences or ideas and to apply their
issues or concerns to some controversial topics Individuality implies a
situation where learners are given a measure of freedom to choose how and
what they learnt at any particular timeUr 1996 233
Individualization activities allow the learners to act at their own pace in
their own manner and style & on the topics or content of their own choice

Motivation
Motivation involves the attitudes and affective states that influence the degree
of effort that learners make to learn an L2Ellis 1997 75Generally
speaking, four kinds of motivation have mainly been identified
instrumental, integrative,intrinsic and extrinsicGardner Lambert 1972
Deci1975.Learners motivation and preferences in language learning are
generally due to their learning style and beliefs that influence the strategies
chosen for them to study. Their preferable and intentional behaviours and
thoughts engaged during learning will affect their language encoding process.
Age
The idea that there is an age factor in second language development has long
been a subject of debate Biologically it is argued that there is a specific and
limited time period for language acquisition called the Critical Period
Hypothesis and so on had reported that the age of starting to learn a second
language earlier showed a noticeable influence on accent. However ,regarding
the cognitive ,affective and environmental perspectives in second language
development the age factor will be filled with complicated explanations.

Advantages of a social perspective on second language acquisition


A social perspective of second language acquisition focuses on the learning
process with the goal of exploring the kinds of classroom tasks that appear to
facilitate second language learning The purpose of these tasks is to take into
account the interplay between the content of the curriculum and the process by
which it is realized Therefore in the process of accomplishing instructional
objectives classroom interactive processes take place among the participants
and lead to the creation of a whole range of learning opportunities which may
cause many unexpected contributions thus creating great advantages
considered to be the realization of communicative competence as well as
performance in relevant social situation.Slimani,2001

Amplifying opportunities and topics


The social perspective of second language development encourages interactive
learning By learning interactively or collaboratively learners are assigned to
learn by group or pair work in which they participate and support each other.
This increases opportunities for the learners to talk Moreover,through
the observation of the classroom contributions from the learner the teacher
collects more typical topics that are of interest to the learner .Hence, the
learner is an active part of the classroom planning rather than just an inactive
passively fed receiver Provoking more negotiation of meaning, also by
working in pairs or groups without the instructors control the learners sense
a relaxed learning atmosphere of casualness without threat or competition

They will display their abilities to their best to interact with colleagues for
support or ideas and to express their own points of view in order to negotiate
meanings in the light of their own contexts thus creating amounts of
comprehensible input. Jacobs Hall 2002
Promoting thinking, interactive and cooperative learning has learning
objectives that are academic, affective and social Learners implementing
those tasks are compelled not only to think of their own but also of their group
members as well Team work offers challenges for the learner to choose a best
response among several options to make decisions and to analyze arguments
or generate insights into particular meanings and interpretations by critical
thinking LeeMaureenJacobs1998, Catering for the specific needs of
different learners.
Language Development and InstructionA Social Perspective on Second
Language Development and Instruction assist the learners in fostering an
intrinsic motivation and a desire to invest effort in the learning for its own
sake. Then they will find their own way taking charge of their
learningand make their own opportunities for practice in using the
language inside and outside the classroomBrown 2001 209

Motivation and Interest Variation studies


Establishing motivation and interest variation studies have found that
motivation is very strongly related to achievement in language learning eg.
Gardener Lambert 1972 Gardner 1980 A social perspective on second
language learning makes language learning a deeply social and cultural aspect
that requires the incorporation of a wide range of comprehensive contents the
L2 culture the learners life experience and family background individual
personalities and learning styles psychological and linguistic factors which
bring some specific and organic contents into the classroom Dornyei,2001.
These contents can not only be adapted for multilevel learners from the
elementary to the advanced but also be used to always ensure a more
unpredictable diverse meaningful interesting and vivid output thus
stimulating the learners motivation and their longing for participation in the
language classroom.
Producing oral fluency
The interactions among the learners in the classroom provide adequate
activities for each participant to air their voices. It also obliges the learners to
open their mouths and talk frequently Hence there are more chances for the
learners to practice rather than just to listen to the teacher Their ability to
speak is improved. Monitoring what was learned in a collaborative classroom

learners contribute to each other and are made more aware of their own they
can in fact do a substantial proportion of the monitoring on their own
Moreover classroom interaction offers an operational way of understanding
what the learners perceive they have learned which makes it possible to
relate learning claims to the immediate environment from which they emerged
in order to see if it is possible to establish a relationshipSlimani 2001
289
Creating a positive mutual learning environment
Classroom dynamics can provide a comprehensive feedback from the learners,
such as a wide diversity of opinions, references, values, many different
experiences and styles of learning The rich dissimilar feedback compels the
instructors to adjust their teaching pedagogy in accordance with the learners
demand and interest evaluate their learners receptive and productive
competence and develop their professional technique to meet the challenges
in a better way Hence a positive mutual learning classroom climate between
the teacher and the learner can be created that promotes genuine language
learning,

Methodology of teaching & Curriculum:


From the above mentioned theories and advantages it is inferred that the
following deserve consideration Proposals for task-based language teaching.
The process-oriented sociolinguistic approach provides impetus for the
development of task-based language teaching Proponents of task-based
language teaching point out that second language acquisition research shows
that successful language learning involves learners in negotiation of meaning
In the process of negotiating with a speaker of the target language the learner
receives the kind of input needed to facilitate learning
Curriculum review;
Curriculum should be designed in proportion to the learners receptive capacity
& development needs, further sustainably of his motivation needs to be
received incorporating state of the art. It is proposed that classroom tasks that
involve negotiation of meaning should form the basis of the language teaching
curriculum and that tasks can be used to facilitate practice of both language
forms and communicative functions A comprehensive curriculum of
assistance of one form or another The classroom implementation curriculum
firstly needs to take into account one form of assistance that is the
contextual information which includes careful thoughts about the different
variables of the Learners performances the socio cultural settings and the
exposure to the second language
However, ambitious teaching contain may be inadequate delivery mechanism/

method be devised suitable fitted in the frame work of teaching.


Here, I suggest that teacher need to follow up participating & contextualize
teaching. This may take the use of Audio Visual teaching & group dynamics,
dialogue method and interactive approaches with relevant cognitive exercises.
Conclusion
A social perspective approach to second language development examines the
relationship between society and second language learning It high lights the
specific social factors that affect second language learning, Although second
language learning is a complex phenomenon with different variables
concerning the psychological factors of the learner and the socio-cultural
elements of the contexts the interactional approach to second language
learning still ensures a successful method which makes sense in the language
classroom By viewing the advantages and teaching implications of the
sociolinguistic approach it can be concluded that a social perspective of
second language development contributes to setting up a climate of mutual
learning both for the teacher and the learners which activates the
autonomous learning motivation and creates diversity in the learning
atmosphere
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